Here is my thirty-seventh short story, enjoy reading!
Since she was a child, Océane has always been clumsy and responsible for social and material damages. In kindergarten, she caused an inundation by forgetting to turn off the tap in the bathroom; in primary school, she accidentally stunned the director by playing dodgeball and broke her two front teeth by falling from gymnastic bars! (luckily, they were baby teeth); in middle school, she won the record of broken glasses and knocked-down trays in the cafeteria; in high school, she fell flat on her face in front of everyone while running in the freshly cleaned hall; and at uni, she almost put a student’s eye out by throwing her hat during the graduation ceremony! Océane was so blunderer that she could have got a Master’s degree in Clumsiness. About that, all her entourage called her “Miss Roadkill” to her great despair.
Océane’s clumsiness did not help her romantic relationships. Even if some of her exs thought it was cute at first, they all ended up running away after a few weeks or months. Indeed, who wants to get slapped involuntarily during his sleep? Who likes to be sprayed with Coke whenever his girlfriend opens a bottle? Who would give everything to eat dishes half burned? Who dreams of being insulted each time Océane reverses something in a store? NOBODY. Océane has clearly understood it and she decided to change because it is very frustrating to be the only one who has to eat with a plastic plate and cutlery for kids when she is invited to eat at friends, especially at twenty-six years old!
-“If there wasn’t this damn clumsiness, I’m sure you’d have plenty of suitors at your feet!
– Thanks sis. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
– You have no reason to cry. You’re young, pretty, healthy and you work in a prestigious bank. Honey, the fact that you’re clumsy doesn’t mean you’re stupid. You got a Finance Master’s Degree!
– Figures are not material. That’s the only thing I know to handle without damage. I only work with a phone, a calculator and a computer. My colleagues don’t let me even touch paper documents and I’m not allowed to make coffee!
– Océane, you’re lucky actually.
– What do you mean, Ondine?
– You’re excused from paperwork and your colleagues make coffee for you!
– I don’t think these privileges will last. We have a new director and he seems to consider me as a slacker.
– In this case, ask the others the right to recover your paperwork! And learn to use the coffee machine properly, it’s not complicated!
– I did it but they still don’t allow me. They’re afraid that I compromise document organization and that I make the coffee machine explode…
– Poor thing, this is really starting to become problematic.
– You can say that again! I’m tired of people treating me as if I was disabled!
– You’re not disabled. And even if you were handicapped, you’d deserve to be treated like everyone else! Discrimination is prohibited.
– Should I sue them?
– Only in case of extreme measure, but we are not there yet. Take this awareness to face your demons! You have to show people that you’re able to control your clumsiness. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but it’s something you must do for your well-being and the one of others. After that, everything will go much better, trust me. This is an opportunity to become the person you always wanted to be!
– Thanks Ondine, but how will I accomplish this feat? I need a coach!
– Rightly, I wanted to tell you about this option. My friend Valérie who had problems socializing has become a professional in the art of forging new relationships thanks to Victor Lemaître.
– Who is he?
– An expert of self-confidence.
– Why? I have no problem talking to people!
– I’m not saying that you’re asocial, but I think that by being more confident, you’ll become significantly less clumsy.
– You’re probably right. I will call him.
– Here’s his number…”
Today Océane has an appointment with Victor for an initial consultation. Like his voice she heard on the phone, Victor exudes strength, friendship and casualness. He is wearing black jeans, a blue shirt and he is equipped with a headset. His well-cut hair and hazel eyes inspire confidence. He must be in his thirties and he asks her to call him by his first name to facilitate their conversation.
-“Please have a seat… So, Océane, tell me what brings you here.
– Well, I’m endowed with a morbid clumsiness since childhood and I would like to get rid of it…
– What do you mean by clumsiness?
– I stumble and hurt myself easily, I can have abrupt and awkward movements toward my entourage, I often break fragile items, I’m unable to cook a dish without burning it a little…
– Do you have trouble expressing yourself verbally?
– Not at all.
– Can you keep a secret?
– Of course, I can! I’m not an informer.
– Good. And during important events, do you ever have inappropriate reactions like laughing at a funeral, applauding before the end of a show or getting the wrong name when you see someone you have already met?
– Ok. So it’s only physical and material clumsiness.
– Do you have sight problems?
– According to my opthalmologist, my visual acuity is flawless. I passed a vision test last week!
– Are you a careless person?
– I don’t think so. I work in finance and my calculations are always accurate!
– I’m happy to hear that. So you’re able to be rigorous and you pay attention to your work.
– I have to. You cannot mess with figures! Otherwise, consequences would be catastrophic for the company.
– See! There is at least one area where you’re not clumsy. Is your boss satisfied with your work?
– My former boss was happy with what I was doing but the new one thinks that I’m lazy.
– Why is that?
– Because of my clumsy girl reputation, my colleagues don’t want me to take care of the paperwork and they forbade me to approach the coffee machine since the only time I overfilled it!
– They seem to be harsh with you. Is it just because of an overflow of coffee?
– In fact, I almost scaled my boss that day. Luckily he is agile and narrowly escaped the explosion of coffee!
– I’m surprised he didn’t fire you!
– There was no human damage and I’m an excellent financial analyst. That’s why he kept me. Unfortunately, he had to retire early because of health problems and now I’m in his successor’s cross hairs. Hence the fact that I chose to call you to help me eradicate this defect that affects my personal and professional relationships…
– Thanks for the clarification, Océane. I have to say that despite what you’ve told me about your clumsiness, you show very good analytical skills, I’m impressed.
– Thank you, Victor. So, what do you suggest to resolve my problem?
– You can choose from three packages. “Forceful Confidence” is a program that lasts six months and allows you to gain confidence especially in social relationships. It’s followed by many shy or introverted people and involves a lot of group meetings. “Quick Confidence” is a program in a month with individual monitoring and daily actions that will allow you to be confident in a record time. It’s recommended for busy people who are highly motivated and willing to make tremendous efforts. This is not an easy program but it has the merit of being effective. And “Confidence Step by Step” is a program that takes the time to teach you the basics of confidence at your own pace. It usually lasts the entire year. So, which package would make you happy, Océane?
– What are your prices first?
– I admire your common sense. Well, “Forceful Confidence” is a package that costs 3,360 euros. It includes 168 hours of coaching, I mean 28 hours of coaching per month or 7 hours per week each month during six months. “Quick confidence” is a 2,240 euros package. It includes 112 hours of coaching. It’s 28 hours of coaching per week so you will have to train 4 hours per day. And concerning the “Confidence Step by Step” program, you pay for the number of hours you followed. It’s 20 euros per hour.
– Thank you. My trial period finishes in a month so I think it would be better that I take the “Quick Confidence” option!
– Excellent choice! How do you intend to pay?
– What are my options?
– You can pay 560 euros at the end of each week. Or 1,120 euros in the middle of the month and the rest at the end. You can also pay the full amount now, as you wish. And I only take checks, it’s cleaner.
– I see, it’s a lot of money…
– What do you want, we have to be able to live, especially in Paris. And believe me, driving schools are much more expensive than my coaching sessions!
– I know exactly what you mean, I had the feeling to sell my kidneys when I passed my driving license…
– Did you get it?
– I did everything to get it.
– Congratulations! I like that kind of thinking. This is exactly the attitude I expect from you. So, did you choose your payment option?
– I’ll take the weekly option but I will pay in five times. 440 euros per week. Take it or leave it.
– This makes a total of 2,200 instead of 2,240 euros!
– I know but I earn 2,600 euros per month and I need a minimum of 400 euros per month to live. Don’t forget that we are in Paris!
– Wow, you are the first client of mine who dares to negotiate the payment options!
– I told you, my problem is not shyness or introversion, I just want to get rid of my physical clumsiness!
– Ok, deal!
– Are you serious?
– I decided to reward your aplomb. Don’t make me change my mind!
– Thank you, Victor. When do we start?
Victor advised Océane to see life and people around her like figures to increase her vigilance. He also gave her a series of exercises to do every day with levels of increasing difficulty. Wear high heels all day without tripping, drink a whole cup of coffee without spilling it by walking in the street, get into a souvenir shop with a backpack without breaking anything, learn to juggle safely, play a round of tennis without hurting anyone, learn how to serve tea in the Moroccan way without scalding, standing in the metro without falling on people in case of shock, make dozens of back and forth between her office and the copy machine with a bundle of documents without reversing them, learn to carry four plates at the same time like the waiters at the restaurant without breaking or sting, successfully cook a dish without accident, open a bottle of champagne or gaseous soda without dribbling, dance in a nightclub without crushing someone’s foot, do several laps of skating without incident…the list goes on.
During a month, every single day without exception, Océane gradually learns to tame her clumsiness and coordination of her movements under the relentless supervision of Victor. Day after day, the number of falls, scratches or burns decreases. Océane feels increasingly comfortable with gravity, Parisians in perpetual motion, the mountains of paperwork, skill games, cooking, hot drinks and everything that bothered her before.
Last day, in Victor’s office…
–“I think my mission is over. You’ve done an amazing job, Océane. I’m proud of you!
– Thank you, Victor. I couldn’t have done it without you. You’ve been an examplary coach.
– It was my pleasure. I think you’ve earned this.. Here is your certificate of dexterity!…”
As I speak to you now, Victor and Océane became very good friends and they even opened a coaching business together…
Hope you enjoyed this short story. Have a nice day 🙂